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The McBeath household has been abuzz with action this past month. We’re building a home on the water, family moving, leaving, JK busy, wife’s job over the top crazy, it just never stops. Then… the boats arrived! A brand spanking new fleet including a spiffy yellow jacket Big Tuna for myself and Sam, my crazy 8 year old fishing phenom, an Ibis for my flower picking, frog loving, turtle hugging daughter Emilie-Rose and a Rogue for my beautiful wife Nathalie returning to paddling for the first time in 15+ years (the 3 B’s kept her away: Back, Babies and Busy). Each of our goals are different on the micro level, but we all have one primary goal: Paddling together!

Crap, we have 3 big kayaks! So there I am standing on the lawn looking at a 14 foot tandem fishing kayak, a 12 foot cruiser and 10 foot all water kayak, planning a first evening on the water as a family in kayaks, well, ever! I then look over to my Toyota Matrix, the 4 foot roof rack span and go “oh oh!”. Time for daddy to do what he’s always meant to do, buy a trailer! If I was paddling two of these boats, roof racking them would be easy. I’ve racked 7 whitewater kayaks before on the roof, an interesting night at the Ottawa River take out, mosquitoes pecking away, poison ivy involved and 7 guys wondering who will be left behind in the fly infested woods waiting for the shuttle run. But I digress. I need a trailer. Off I go to the amazing InterWeb for a quick look at the local used sites. The used internet surfing gods were on my side, found a converted boat trailer (great to have that long tongue for the longer kayaks) complete with 4×8 low box and new everything… $350. Two hours later I had trailer hooked, license, lights working and three boats loaded up.

The kids got home to their surprises. Emilie-Rose went crazed as she whipped off the package. Danced around the Ibis and jumped right in with the biggest ol grin. Sam turned the corner into our driveway, saw the Big Tuna and immediately asked if we could go fishing. Thats ma boy! Supper was quick and we headed to the put in for the Mississippi (Canadian) just a few blocks away.


Emilie-Rose was first in to her Ibis. Her goals this summer is simply to have NO learning curve and get to where she flourishes, the marshlands, weed beds etc. that are chalk full of wildlife, flowers and photo opps. She’s a 11 year old protogy on the camera. She’s the first one to use our new Cannon Rebel T3i and spends her days filling up card after card of shots of flowers, flies, reptiles, birds and trees. You’ll see her in National Geo some day, mark my words. The Ibis was her dream as she’s tired of waiting for daddy to stop fishing and take her to the cool stuff on the river. She now has her independence and her first gallery (below) gives you an idea of the fun she had last night.  Her paddle strokes were great, even holding a paddle just a bit too long for her.  Next step is taking the family on a half day flatwater paddlestrokes exercise to get their core working more than their arms, in the meantime Emilie-Rose was definitely in her element last evening.

Emilie-Rose`s First Web Gallery
[nggallery id=381 blog=1]

Nathalie has been away from kayaking for many years as I had mentioned.  From injuries, including a significant one to her back, to babies and finally to a career path that has taken her from a working life with a ton of available time, to a schedule that`s off the charts to now where she`s getting settled and finding a bit more time for herself.  Back 22 years, she took whitewater lessons and we spent the summers kayaking the Ottawa River rapids.  Her first boat back needed to be something that kept up with all of us on flat water, but something that would allow her to slowly, at her own pace, get back into moving water.  After my trip to Veracruz and spending time in the Rogue, we both thought that it fit that bill nicely with her goals.  First phase, shake the paddling cobwebs off, have some fun on the water.  She immediately took to the Rogue as the comfort and stability were not like she remembered with her old whitewater kayak.  Way more stable, way faster too.  She did find herself spinning and not going straight, a frustration many first time whitewater kayakers face.  I then showed her the drop skeg function on the Rogue, she loved it and whipped past all of us with her quickly-remembered strokes.  Second phase, get Nathalie back into her WW strokes, bracing and rolling.  Stay tuned for a summer`s progression back onto the mighty Ottawa 😉

Sam McBeath, aka Sambo, is an easy kid to please as he absolutely LOVES to do anything outdoors.  We fish all the time and he`s most likely going to quickly take over the biggest fish tournament we have each summer.  Last year my musky won out, but he`s already prepped his musky rig and is ready for prime time and fights with the big girls.  In the meantime, the Big Tuna is a perfect starting ground as he`s gotta learn the ropes with the larger tackle.  I can be there with him for this phase.  Sam`s been paddling a lot in his Shooting Star, so has got the strokes down pat and his 8-pack abs help too 😉  In fishing Sam has been working with weedless bait set ups, mostly soft baits on a Carolina rig.  This allows for NO hooks to be exposed and gets him into the bigger fish hidden in the thick Ontario weed beds.  Last year he hit his personal best with a 4.8lb large mouth, a 5 lb smallie and a 9 lb pike.  He hopes to best MY personal bests in all those categories and to hit other species here and in the larger lakes around.  The Big Tuna is perfect to get us both into the action.  He`ll be taking over my Coosa shortly though giving me the Tuna to be set up solo… works as I`m after musky this spring 😉  The contest last night was on… who was going to slime the Big Tuna with its first fish.  Sam had a massive pike on the line but daddy set the drag wrong.  The photo here shows him doing battle, check out that rod!  It must have been a good 9 to 12 lbs somewhere, got to the side of the kayak and scooted under snapping the line.  Sorry sam, my BAD!   It weren`t pretty, but Sam brought in a small bass as our first fish landed on the Tuna.  Sam`s true goals this summer is mostly aimed at getting into whitewater, so stay tuned for fun with Sam as we will be filming his entire progression.


This weekend we`re off again to a local lake system!  Sweet!